WTO Accession Opens Up A New Chapter for Seychelles’ Development
Wed, 25 March 2015
Seychelles President James Michel has today signed the ratification of the World Trade Organisation Accession Protocol on behalf of the Republic of Seychelles at State House this morning. The signature follows the endorsement of the Seychelles National Assembly yesterday.
The signing was witnessed by Vice President Danny Faure, the Chairperson of the Working Party of the Accession of Seychelles to the WTO, Ms. Hilda Al Hinai, the WTO Director of the Accessions Division, Mr. Cheidu Osakwe and the Legal Affairs Officer of the Accessions Division, Ms. Petra Beslać, Seychelles’ Cabinet of Ministers and the Seychelles chief negotiator for the WTO accession, Mr. Charles Morin.
The President said that by joining the WTO, Seychelles as a Small Island Developing State, will bring additional value to the organisation as well as the people of Seychelles.
“The economic reforms that I initiated in 2008, have sought to strengthen our resilience in the face of potential global shocks. Joining WTO ensures that we are not bystanders while global processes are shaped and directed by others. It ensures that we can create more opportunities for our people while also defending their right to development. As a Small Island Developing State- we are reliant on open access to trade in goods and services both to ensure that the basic needs of our people are met, and to ensure that we continue to create opportunities for wealth creation and prosperity,” said the President in his remarks after the signing.
The President added, “It is no secret that it is hard for small states to carve a niche for themselves in the global economy. But our achievements since 2008 show that we can mobilise the global economy to strengthen our position- to build our resilience- and create our own opportunities."
President Michel said that Seychelles is looking forward to work with the WTO Secretariat in order to develop its capacity building and in empowering the private sector, especially the Small and Medium Enterprises.
The President also spoke about the Blue Economy concept which he explained will enable the country ‘to transform our situation from price takers in the global economy to shapers of new models of development.”
He added, “And to develop the Blue Economy we will need to leverage the research and technological support from across the globe. WTO is well placed to facilitate this access to the key drivers of our Blue Economy transformation. As we join this world trading body, we look forward to working with the WTO Secretariat to further help us in building our capacity."
The President assured all its partners in the WTO that Seychelles will to continue to bring forward momentum within the organisation and to ensure that trade and development can be linked in a meaningful way. He said that Seychelles would work to ensure through more transparency in international trading rules, that long term investments are secure.
"I am convinced that WTO accession opens up a new chapter for Seychelles' development. A new chapter whereby even though we know we are still vulnerable to external shocks- we have many more tools with which to cope with these shocks. That we have many more tools to build other opportunities that ensure that our economies are fundamentally sustainable."
On his part, the WTO Director of the Accessions Division, Mr. Cheidu Osakwe conveyed the organisation’s congratulations to President James Michel after accepting the document. He highlighted that membership is a commitment.
“WTO membership is a commitment to reform. Reforms are tough, they are difficult, they are challenging but they are undertaken because governments believe that without pain there will be no gain. The President has spoken eloquently in his statement and there was very little to add except to say to you distinguished guest members of the Cabinet, that accession to the WTO is a commitment to trade integration, to the core values of the WTO which are the values of the market economy, transparency, good governance and the rules of law. This is what you have committed yourself to,” said Mr. Osakwe in his remarks.
On behalf of the WTO delegation, he applauded the Seychelles government for this remarkable step which he said “has fired a shot throughout Africa into the trading system."
“What you have done for your country is not only what has been for your country, but what has been done for Africa and what has been done to update the rules of the multilaterals trading system,” said Mr. Osakwe.
President James Michel's statement will be circulated tomorrow morning to all 160 WTO members.